Classic kicks off play Friday

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By Robert Howey

The first Rose City Soccer Classic kicks off play Friday at Lancaster Memorial Stadium.

The two-day-event, which involves all four county high school boys' teams, will continue Saturday with four matches on tap starting at 11 a.m.

The Classic's opening match has tournament host Lancaster meeting Indian Land at 5:30 p.m. The second match of the opening night pits Conference VIII-AA foes Andrew Jackson against Buford at 7.

Play opens Saturday with four matches on tap.

The 11 a.m. match features Buford against Lancaster, followed by the Andrew Jackson vs. Indian Land match at 12:30 p.m.

The 3 p.m. match has Indian Land meeting Buford and the 5:30 p.m. match closes play with Lancaster battling Andrew Jackson.

"This tournament is a way to promote the sport of soccer," said Lancaster High School boys' soccer coach Bo Sylvia, who is in his first season guiding the Bruins' booters. "We need to promote the sport of soccer and we see this tournament as a way.

"We want to increase interest," Sylvia said. "We have great recreation programs, but we need to move the interest up a notch.

"Our goal is to pump money into the soccer programs," he said. “We want all the schools to get the same recognition."

The tournament is sponsored by Founders Federal Credit Union and Mariachis Mexican Restaurant.

The round-robin tournament features several incentives. The Classic has a traveling trophy, meaning the winner keeps the trophy for a year. The winner also hosts the tournament next season.

The Classic has special rules for determining a winner. A win earns a team three points, with one point for each goal scored up to three.

There will be no overtime in the matches and each match has 35-minute halves, down five minutes from the regulation 40.

In a way to promote sportsmanship, a red card is a two-point reduction.

Lancaster County School District Superintendent Dr. Gene Moore will present the championship trophy at the completion of the final match on Saturday night.

"We're looking forward to it," said AJ coach Randy Jordan. "The players on the teams know each other well and they will be competing hard throughout the tournament. We have a young team, but there's plenty of incentive to play well."

Sylvia said the tournament hopes to add the girls soccer teams in the future.

"We've had tremendous support from Dr. Keenan (Joe, LHS principal) and coach Strickland (Mark, Bruins' athletic director)," Sylvia said. "I hope we have a good turnout from all the county fans because we feel this is a way to boost our county's soccer programs."

BHS coach Leland Summers said his club is anxious to play.

"Our players are excited," Summers said. "In the past, we've played in preseason tournaments in Rock Hill and Chester, so to have one in Lancaster makes it that much better."